Do you ever feel a little behind in your Instagram knowledge?
You can probably get around and do the basics just fine. However, when you look at everybody else around you, they seem way more advanced.
It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Social media platforms are always changing and can be difficult to navigate even for experienced users. Don’t let that discourage you, though. It’s never too late to learn and improve.
If you want to step up your Instagram game, here are 22 tips, tricks, hacks and features that will help take you to the next level.
Instagram has become the favorite social network of many — and not just for teens and Millennials. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, 35% of online adults use Instagram — up 3% from 2016. Compare that, for example, to 24% on Twitter.
Plus, folks don’t just use Instagram casually, as 38% of them use it several times each day.
But for those who have never used the platform before, or those who just want to take their usage to the next level, Instagram has some lesser-known tricks, settings, hacks, search options, and comment features you should know about. That’s why we set out to find them and list them all in one place.
Whether you’re a recruiter looking to showcase your company’s culture, a marketer in the e-commerce industry, or an individual who’s just looking to use Instagram in the best ways possible, here are tips and features here for you.
1. Create Rainbow Text in Stories
Creating multi-colored text in an Instagram Story isn’t a secret. Select the type tool, type all the characters out in your word or phrase, then select each letter one by one and change its color. However, making rainbow text is much easier than that.
To do it fast, type in the text, then highlight all of it. Next, use one thumb to press-and-hold on a color option close to the right of the left side until the gradient tool appears. Then, take your other thumb and press-and-hold on one of the end cursors of the selected text. Slowly slide both thumbs away to make individual characters change colors automatically.
2. Prevent Users from Knowing When You’re Online
When a user looks at their Direct messages or the “Send To” screen when sharing a story, they see a list of users, some of which have an “Active now” status or the time they were last active on Instagram. When currently active, there will also be a green dot to help make those users stand out.
If you don’t want others knowing when you’re using Instagram, tap the three-lined menu on your profile, then “Settings.” On Android, tap “Activity Status” under Privacy and Security. For iOS, select “Privacy and Security,” then “Activity Status.” Toggle it off to finish up. Doing this will also prevent you from seeing when other users are using Instagram, so keep that in mind.
3. Create Solid Color Backgrounds in Stories
Instagram’s “Type” option in Stories lets you write text over colorful gradient backgrounds, but there are zero options for solid color backgrounds. However, there’s a way around its limitation.
Upload any photo or video to the Story Editor, open the drawing tools, and select the market. Then, select a color from either the color picker tool or the color options that appear at the bottom. Once color is selected, press down on the picture or video for a few seconds, and the screen will fill with whatever color you chose.
4. Create Translucent Colored Overlays in Stories
You can also make a semi-transparent overlay over any image or video in your story by doing almost the exact same thing as the solid color background tip above.
In the drawing tools, choose the highlighter tool, then select a color from either the color picker tool or the color options that appear at the bottom. Once color is selected, press down on the picture or video for a few seconds, and the screen will show the color over top the media at about 75% opacity.
5. Share Your Archived Stories
Unless you disable this feature, all of the content from your Instagram Stories are saved into an archive on your account. If you want to access and re-share these photos and videos, you can easily do so.
Open your profile, then tap on the archive icon (the reverse-clock button), then make sure “Stories Archie” or “Stories” is selected on Android or iOS, respectively. Here you can watch your archived Stories, download them to your device, share them again, or use them to create Highlights.
6. Remove old posts from your profile without deleting them
This is possible thanks to Instagram’s archive feature.
How to do it:
- Tap the three dots at the top of the post you want to remove.
- Select Archive.
- Tap the Archive icon in the top right corner of your profile to review all archived posts.
- If you want to restore content to your public profile, simply tap Show on Profile at any time and it’ll show up in its original spot.
7. Organize Saved Posts in Collections
- If you’ve ever wanted to group your favorite posts by a theme, then you should try making a collection.
- First, to save other people’s images and put them in your collections, just tap the bookmark symbol under their post.
- Now go to your profile. Above your photos should be a row of icons.
- Tap the bookmark button on the far right.
- Choose the Collections tab and tap the + icon at the top to create a new collection. After naming the collection, hit Next and select any saved images you want to be added to the collection. Hit Next one more time when you are finished.
8. Receive Notifications when others make New Posts
There are plenty of reasons to follow somebody on Instagram. The account you follow could be somebody who followed you first, a potential follower with shared interests, an important influencer or a rival brand you want to keep an eye on.
To get notified whenever an account makes a new post, simply go to their profile and tap on the gear icon (or 3 dots if you’re on Android) at the top of the page. This will give you a list of options. Select Turn On Notifications, and you’re done.
You can also access this feature from any post made by the account you want to follow. The same gear/3 dots should appear across from the account’s name at the top.
9. Edit Photos without posting them
Sometimes you don’t want to upload a photo yet, but still, want to have it edited in advance. You might also want to be able to post it across multiple social media platforms in addition to Instagram.
There’s an easy way to use Instagram as a standalone photo editor. Before doing anything else, you should turn on the Save Original Photos option. This is located on your settings page, which you can access through your profile by clicking on the gear/3 dots.
Following that, you need to enable airplane mode on your phone. Then proceed to create a new post and edit your photo. Airplane mode will disrupt the upload and cause an error after you hit Share. However, it will still save to the photo gallery on your phone.
Now you can publish it whenever you feel like.
10. Hide extra Hashtags
If you want your content to get discovered on Instagram, you’re going to need to use hashtags. But too many hashtags can make your captions look like a busy mess.
There are a few ways that you can avoid unnecessary clutter.
One thing that you can do is use line breaks. Any text after 3 lines is hidden, and only viewable if somebody selects the More option.
Another option is to leave hashtags out of your captions entirely. Instead, you can put them in a comment to your post.
11. Set up 2-Factor Authentication
You can never be too cautious when it comes to digital security. There’s always the threat that your account can be compromised by hackers trying to get around the system.
If you ever want to add an extra layer of protection, you can enable 2-factor authentication.
Tap the gear icon/3 dots on the top of your page to go to your Options page. Under Account, you should find Two-factor Authentication. Clicking on it will bring you to a page with a toggle labeled Require Security Code. Turning it on will bring up a text prompt telling you that Instagram will text your phone a security code every time you log on.
If your Instagram isn’t already connected to a phone number, you will be asked to provide one.
12. Clean up your Search History
There’s no shame in wanting to wipe away your history. Some of us aren’t comfortable with our searches being saved permanently. Thankfully Instagram gives us the option to clear it.
Click the Options icon on your profile and scroll down to Clear Search History. After tapping it, confirm that you are certain you want it erased. Now you have nothing to worry about!
13. Hide unwanted Tagged Photos
Being tagged in other users’ photos can be a great way to spread brand awareness. However, this isn’t always a positive thing. Occasionally you’ll find yourself tagged in content that you don’t want to be associated with.
Don’t fret over it. You can hide these photos so that others can’t see them.
If you want to hide all tagged photos, go to your profile. Below your bio is a row of icons. Click on the one that looks like a person on a box, to the left of the bookmark icon. This will bring you to your Photos of You section.
Tap the settings icon in the upper right corner. You will be given the option to Hide Photos. This won’t remove the posts from the website, but it will keep them from appearing on your profile.
If you still want tagged photos to show up on your profile, you can set it up so you approve each post individually. Go to the Photos of You section, click the settings icon and then choose Tagging Options. There you can select Add Manually.
14. View the activity of people you follow
Want to keep tabs on somebody and see what they’ve been doing?
Tap the heart icon at the bottom of your home page and you’ll be brought to your activity tab. Then switch it from You to Following at the top. There you will see the activity of everybody that you follow.
15. Embed Instagram Posts on WordPress
If you have a website that uses WordPress, you can embed Instagram posts in your pages.
Open up the post in a browser window on your computer. There should be 3 dots in the lower right corner of the post. Click on this to bring up a set of options and choose Embed. There will be a button to press labeled Copy Embed Code, and also a check-mark box if you want to include captions.
After that, all you need to do is paste the code directly into the desired WordPress post.
16. Share a Story to your Main Feed
Feeling particularly proud of a Story? Why not post it to your main profile too, so everybody can check it out?
Open the story and click on the 3 dots in the lower right corner. Select the Share as Post option. You’ll then be able to edit, caption and publish it like you would any regular post.
17. Add special Fonts to your Bio
Here’s an Instagram bio hack that can truly make your profile stand out. You can already add emojis to the bio beneath your profile photo, but your keyboard limits your creativity right there.
Using a couple of basic third-party websites, you can copy over some more special fonts not often found in the Instagram community. Here’s how.
Add a new font to your Instagram bio via your mobile device using a website like LingoJam. Open the site on your phone, type your desired bio text in the lefthand text box, and you’ll see the same bio text in different typefaces appear on the right.
Carry your chosen font over to your Instagram bio by tapping it and selecting “Copy.” Then, open your Instagram app, navigate to your profile, select “Edit Profile,” tap the “Bio” section and paste your chosen font into the empty field.
18. Add Special Characters to your Bio
Not only can you customize your bio with a special font, but you can also add atypical characters that distinguish you or your brand — but that you wouldn’t find on your smartphone’s normal keyboard. These include §, †, or even ™ if your Instagram name features a trademarked product name.
Using your mobile device, install a free mobile app like Character Pad, which catalogs nearly every character and symbol you might need but won’t find in the 26-letter English alphabet.
Open the app and find the character you want to add to your Instagram bio. In Character Pad, you’ll simply double-tap the picture of your chosen symbol to paste it into a text box, as shown below. Then, copy this character to your phone’s clipboard.
Once you have your symbol copied to your clipboard, open Instagram, navigate to your bio, and tap “Edit Profile.”
Hold down your finger on the field of your bio you want to insert your special character until “Paste” appears as an option. Tap “Paste” and you’ll be all set.
19. Optimize your Instagram bio to appear in the Explore Tab
Your friends, family, and coworkers might be your first group of Instagram followers, but growing your audience takes more than the people who already know you. One key way to do this is to get your profile to appear in Instagram’s Explore page.
The Explore page, accessible using the magnifying glass icon shown above, is a browsing page that sorts the entire Instagram community by topic and keyword. These include “Fitness,” “Style,” “Science,” and more.
Hashtagging your posts with these words can expose your content to the people browsing these topics, but you can also use them in your Instagram name and bio to promote your profile. If Jane Doe is a marketing consultant, for example, she might want to make her Instagram name “Jane Doe Marketing,” rather than simply “Jane Doe.” Then, in her bio, she can include all of her specialties, such as “SEO,” “blogging,” “email marketing,” etc.
20. Look through pictures without accidentally liking them
It’s pretty easy to learn how to like something on Instagram — so easy, in fact, that people do it accidentally: It’s just a quick double tap of the photo once you’ve entered its full view.
The thing is, it’s so easy to do quickly by mistake. So, here’s a quick Instagram cheat for you: To look through someone’s photos without “double-tap paranoia,” scroll through Instagram feeds with your phone set to airplane mode. Without internet access, you won’t be able to Like a photo, even if you accidentally double-tap it.
The pictures won’t load in the first place if you start on airplane mode, though. You’ll have to go to the feed first to load the posts, then turn on airplane mode, then start scrolling. When you reach the end of the first rows of posts and want to load more, simply turn airplane mode off, let more load, and then turn it on again. Cumbersome? Maybe a little, but it could be worth the paranoia mitigation.
21. Browse Posts near your Current Location
One fun thing you can do on Instagram is to browse photos and videos from a specific location, or taken near your current location. I like to do that when I’m planning a trip somewhere, or want to check out a new restaurant and scroll through the pictures taken there.
Tap the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of your home screen, which will bring you to the general search page. When you click into the search bar at the top, four tabs will appear. Choose “Places,”. Tap the search bar, and select “Near Current Location.”
22. Pin your Instagram post to Pinterest
Instagram doesn’t have a natural integration with many social networks (except Facebook, its parent company) for publishing Instagram posts to other social accounts.
But with respect to Pinterest, image-loving platforms stick together. Here’s a backdoor way to Pin your latest Instagram Story to Pinterest:
On the Instagram mobile app, tap a post to view it in full, then tap the three dots to the top-right of the image. Select “Copy Share URL” to attach the picture’s link to your clipboard.
Open the Pinterest mobile app — or download it; you’ll need it for this step — and navigate to your profile page. If you have the latest version of Pinterest downloaded, it might ask you as soon as you open the app if you’d like to produce the image from your clipboard.
If not, select the “+” icon to the top right to add a new pin, and you’ll see a menu of options where you can add your “Copied Link” to a new Pin or board on your profile.
I might be biased, but Instagram is one of the most fun (and visually appealing) social apps around. And now, with these tricks, you can use it to an even fuller extent.
Plus, many of these features can help to enhance your brand’s presence on Instagram. Now, you know how to use the app more efficiently, to make sure you’re only tagged in photos you want to appear on your profile and have even more ways to engage with the people by whom you’d like to be discovered. Also, do let us know in the comment section if we have missed some trick that you know about. 😉